June 20, 2002

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Supreme Court: Executing Mentally Retarded is Unconstitutional (3:23)
A divided Supreme Court reversed course today and ruled that executing mentally retarded people is unconstitutionally cruel, giving scores of inmates on death row the possibility of a reprieve. The most immediate effect of the ruling will be in the twenty states that allow execution of retarded people. Dozens or perhaps hundreds of inmates in those states will likely now argue that they are retarded, and that their sentences should be converted to life in prison. Mitch Perry reports from Tampa.

Palestinians Call for End to Suicide Bombings (4:34)
Israeli troops have now entered the West Bank city of Bethlehem, the adjacent Deheisheh refugee camp and Betounia, just outside Ramallah. They have been in the cities of Jenin and Qalqilya since Tuesday night. The army said troops are carrying out searches, imposed curfews and made a number of arrests. This as Yasser Arafat demanded an end to Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilians. And as our correspondent in Ramallah, Awad Duaibes reports, it comes amidst the most intense grassroots pressure against suicide bombings by Palestinians in the Occupied Territories.

Peruvian President Under Fire (4:38)
Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo is walking  a fine line today as calls for his resignation grow in Peru after he sold off two major electricity companies to a Belgium-French corporation. Peruvians took to the streets in many Southern towns to protest the  already deeply unpopular Toledo who they say lied by privatizing the power generators despite signing a pledge not to sell while campaigning for last year’s elections. The $167.4 million dollar sale to Belgium’s Tractebel, a unit of French utility Suez, was canceled yesterday as Toledo’s presidency was on the line.

José Bové Imprisoned (2:47)
France’s best-known Roqeufort cheese producer, José Bové, is in jail today and he’s pledged to refuse to take food until France’s national holiday on the fourteenth of July to encourage protests against global capitalism. Tony Cross reports from Paris.

NY City Council Hearings on Reparations (4:44)
For the first time in its history, the City Council of New York City held hearings on reparations and restitution for the descendants of Africans held in bondage in the Empire State. African American historians, political and social leaders, lawyers and activists spoke before the Council. Yesterday’s hearings coincided with the historic day of Juneteenth, the day when enslaved Africans in Galveston, Texas were belatedly informed of their freedom. Dred Scott Keyes was at the hearing and files this report.

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